Understanding The Types Of Liability In Injury Cases
When an injury attorney submits a claim or lawsuit, the central argument is always that the defendant is liable for the harm the plaintiff suffered. If you're planning to speak with a personal injury lawyer about a case, it may be helpful to learn about the three main kinds of liability in American law. These are negligence, intentional acts, and strict liability. This article examines each one with an eye toward whether your claim might fit into a particular category.
Much of the work of a personal injury attorney centers on working with clients who were the victims of someone else's negligence. From the viewpoint of the law, negligence occurs when a reasonable person ought to have anticipated what happened and tried to prevent it.
Notably, something is only negligence if a party has a legally recognized duty to prevent it from occurring. This is the duty of care, and it generally has to be assumed by some action. For example, your local grocery store assumes a duty of care when it tells the public it's open for business. If a shopper is injured in the store by something that's within the control of the folks working and managing there, the business is liable for negligence. Such a scenario might involve an unmarked slippery floor or a shelf that was stacked too high with canned foods.
Be aware, though, that negligence may split both ways. Someone who slipped on a wet floor while running, for example, would likely be deemed partially responsible. A claims adjuster or court would revise their compensation downward based on their percentage of contribution to the incident.
Willfully doing harming others is covered by more than criminal law. If someone assaulted you, for example, you'd have the right to seek compensation for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and long-term care needs.
Note that an intentional act doesn't have to be criminal. Likewise, even if a person is charged and acquitted in criminal court, a personal injury attorney can still seek damages. The standard of proof is lower in injury cases so it's possible to win a suit against someone who wasn't convicted.
These are either-or cases. If something happens, the defendant is either entirely liable or not at all, depending on whether their actions led to the victim's injuries. For example, a company cleaning out a building for demolition would be strictly liable if a contractor tossed a sink out the window and hit a bystander outside the defined work zone.
For more information, speak with a personal injury lawyer.